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Mortality tied to income


In poor countries, young people died more often from COVID-19

The World Bank estimates that relatively young people in middle-income countries have died from coronavirus more often than in wealthier regions of the world. Among the reasons for the increased mortality risk of the poorer working-age population is the rare occurrence of teleworking and living in larger households.

The age structure of mortality from coronavirus at the end of 2020 differs among countries with middle and high per capita income. This is the conclusion reached by a group of World Bank experts who studied the relationship between age, deaths and national income during a pandemic. As a data source, the work used information on deaths associated with coronavirus, which is contained in the global database COVerAGE-DB, as well as excess mortality rates during a pandemic, taken from national databases of 41 countries. Since the authors of the paper limited their study to 2020, the worldwide spread of vaccination did not affect the results of the analysis.

According to the authors, the first data on deaths from coronavirus, collected in China in the winter of 2020, indicated that the likelihood of death among those infected increases with age.

Since the largest proportions of the elderly are concentrated in high-income countries, relatively fewer people were expected to be affected by the epidemic in poorer countries. However, it turned out that in high-income countries, people under the age of 65 accounted for an average of 11% of both official and excess deaths, while for upper middle-income countries the figures were 40% and 37%. and for countries with a lower middle income level – 54%. For the purposes of the research, the “fork” from $ 1036 to $ 4045 was considered to be below the average income, from $ 4046 to $ 12 535 above the average, and over $ 12 536 as high.

Calculations show that there is a positive relationship between per capita income and age-specific mortality gradients, suggesting a lower likelihood of dying from COVID-19 before age 65 in richer countries.






8.1 million

+36 339

(per day) 7 million

+25 895

(per day) 227 thous.


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Data updated on 21.10.2021 at 11:33 Moscow time

According to the authors of the work, this can be explained by a number of reasons, primarily the fact that remote employment is less common in countries with lower incomes, therefore, the risks of getting infected from those who continued to work during the epidemic are higher. Second, in richer countries, more elderly people were living in nursing homes at the time the virus emerged, making them very vulnerable to infection. So, for example, until mid-2021, almost a third of all deaths from coronavirus in the United States were residents of such institutions or their employees. Third, in poorer countries, people are more likely to live in large households, which makes isolating the elderly more difficult. So, up to 20% of households in these countries consist of both 20 and 60, while in rich countries the share of those does not exceed 5%.

Although Russia was not included in the number of countries analyzed by the World Bank, Rosstat data on mortality rates for 2020 confirm that relatively young people died from the coronavirus in the Russian Federation. This, in particular, is evidenced by the significant, possibly the largest in the world, reduction in life expectancy in 2020 – by 1.8 years. This, as Kommersant previously told, confirms the assumption that if in the world, on average, the risk of dying from coronavirus increased after 65 years, then in the Russian Federation – after 45 years


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